Friday, November 20, 2009

Happy News - Follow-up on the 'Extreme Makeover'

This photo shows some of the thousands of volunteers who rebuilt the home of the Powell family. They are shouting 'move that bus' upon the arrival of Delores Powell and her four children who returned home last week. They had been whisked away to Disney for one week after the TV show "Extreme Makeover: Family Edition" arrived at their house. They might have thought having their new house and neighborhood refurbished, and the excitement of a TV show was enough of a shock.

But, they had no idea what else was coming. The day after the family returned to have the first look at their new house, they were presented with a paid four-year scholarship to local Canisius College for each of the four children , and the keys to a blazing red, 2010 Ford Fusion.

The family's refrigerator and pantry were also stocked with food provided by the local Tops Market, and the freezer packed with frozen foods supplied by Rich Products, which announced it was donating a year's worth of products.

"I cannot tell you how my heart is feeling right now. I realize that a human heart is stronger than we ever believe," Powell said, with her children grouped around her outside the home's entrance.

"This joy that has flooded my heart since the 7th of November is unexplainable. I can never, never, explain what I am feeling inside, but you can just imagine. All of what has happened has made me to be very humble."

Powell said her older children want to attend college, but with limited financial means she has worried about how to make that happen, especially with her oldest, Joel, graduating next June.

"I will make sure that all my children do not take for granted this opportunity that has been given to them. I am going to stay on top of them as I always do," Powell said.

"I just want to thank Canisius College for giving them the opportunity that I couldn't afford to give them. God bless you."

Powell expressed her gratitude one day after Buffalo's eight-day odyssey with "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" came to its dramatic conclusion Saturday with several thousand people packing into the little block on the Lower West Side of Buffalo, to welcome the awestruck mother to her new home.

This episode of "Extreme Makeover" is expected to air sometime early next year, maybe as soon as January, according to one source familiar with the filming.

The actions of the Extreme Makeover program appears to have had a 'domino' effect in the community. Builder David Homes, Western New York AmeriCorps and PUSH Buffalo, a nonprofit community housing organization, pumped tens of thousands of dollars into the rest of the neighborhood this week, unleashing 4,500 volunteers on 50 other properties.

They painted, installed roofs, sided homes, planted trees, put up fencing, rebuilt porches and landscaped lawns.

More importantly, though, they restored hope to a neighborhood in desperate need of it.

"It's not just a property transformation," Garrett said. "It's hope, which this neighborhood hasn't had in a very long time." The mayor has announced that there will be several similar actions in the communities of Buffalo in the upcoming year.

So it seems that the good fortune of the Powell family will be passed along to many others in the community. That is indeed some happy news!

(photos & information taken from the Buffalo News)

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